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ROSEMARIE DETORRO MCDONALD v. KEYSTONE INSURANCE COMPANY (05/06/83)

filed: May 6, 1983.

ROSEMARIE DETORRO MCDONALD, APPELLANT,
v.
KEYSTONE INSURANCE COMPANY



No. 1175 Philadelphia 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 3335 March Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

Eugene Spector, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Dennis Veneziale, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cercone, P.j., and Cavanaugh, Wieand, Cirillo, Popovich, Montgomery and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 406]

Appellant contends that the lower court erred in vacating an arbitrators' award granting her $15,000 in uninsured motorist benefits. She argues that: (1) she was entitled to recover uninsured benefits because the driver's legal minimum policy limits were too low to fully compensate her; and (2) appellee, her insurer, was estopped from denying her coverage because it had failed to comply with her request for "full and complete "coverage" or to adequately explain how the legal minimum coverage she purchased would fall short of being full and complete. Finding no merit in appellant's contentions, we affirm the order of the lower court.

When appellant applied for automobile insurance she requested "full and complete" coverage. Appellee's agent sold her a standard no-fault and uninsured motorist policy with legal minimum limits of $15,000 per person. The agent never explained the circumstances in which the insurer would not pay "uninsured" motorist benefits, nor did he explain that, if appellant wished to purchase insurance with higher policy limits, she could also obtain a form of excess, or underinsured motorist, coverage that would pay her the

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 407]

    difference between her policy limits and those of a liable third party with lower policy limits.*fn1

On January 19, 1979, while appellant was a passenger, Frieda Larr drove her car into a utility pole, seriously injuring appellant. Appellant sought no-fault benefits from appellee and eventually received $7,500.*fn2 Appellant threatened a tort action against Ms. Larr, whose insurer settled, paying appellant Ms. Larr's policy limits of $15,000. Appellant then sought additional recovery from appellee under the "uninsured" motorist provision of her policy. After a hearing, the arbitrators awarded appellant $15,000 in uninsured motorist benefits. The lower court, however, reversed the award as being an error of law. This appeal followed, and we granted this en banc review.*fn3

An arbitrators' award under the Act of 1927 is subject to judicial correction if it is "against the law, and is such that had it been the verdict of the jury the court would have entered different or other judgment notwithstanding

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 408]

    the verdict." 5 P.S. 171(d); State Farm Mutual Ins. Co. v. Williams, 481 Pa. 130, 392 A.2d 281 (1978). ...


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